New chairman and director elected at BALI AGM

Oak View Landscapes' managing director Paul Downer and Green-tech chairman Richard Kay have both been voted into senior BALI positions at its Annual General Meeting (AGM).

(L-R) Richard Stone, Paul Downer, Matt O’Connor and Robert Field
(L-R) Richard Stone, Paul Downer, Matt O’Connor and Robert Field

Downer was elected as chairman after Robert Field stepped down and became immediate past chairman. He will be supported by Matt O’Conner from BALI Registered Contractor John’O’Conner Grounds Maintenance as vice chairman. 

Downer said getting the job was "an honour and a privilege" and said he was keen to get started.

"It is clear that there are challenges facing the industry and whilst market conditions have improved greatly there is an acute shortage of skilled labour available to the land based industry," he said.

"Once the full effects of Brexit become apparent the labour situation may well deteriorate further. As members of BALI we all need to be ambassadors for this great industry to encourage future generations to join us. 

"The opportunities are immense and it offers a rewarding career across a wide variety of sectors. I am looking forward to promoting the landscape industry and working with members to ensure its future success and sustainability."

Kay was voted onto the BALI board of directors. Richard Stone was re-elected as treasurer and Neil Huck as technical director. 

Green-tech is one of the largest supplies to the industry with a product range of more than 6,000 product lines covering tree planting, urban landscaping, soils and wildflower seed. 

Downer said that Kay is "well known and respected throughout the industry and will continue the great work Chris Carr has undertaken.

"He will bring a wealth of commercial experience and business growth and development expertise to the board and we look forward to welcoming him," he said. 

Kay has grown Green-tech to a £10m-plus turnover business over 22 years and now employs more than 60 people. He plans to achieve a £20m turnover by 2020, his plans will require further acquisitions, product development and the growth of his team.

One of his most recent successes was the development of Rabbit Hill Park, a £3m business park built on the site of an old farm and now home to six rural businesses including Green-tech.

A Yorkshireman, Kay has previously been a committee member for the BALI YNE region; is an examiner for BASIS and BASIS qualified. He was also a member of the BALI Sustainable Growing Media panel in 2013 to tackle the challenge of increasing the specification and use of ‘sustainable’ growing media.

He said: "As an advocate and proud supporter of BALI, I hope to work closely with Affiliate Members and integrate with BALI regional groups to ensure we are maximising the opportunities membership offers.

"I have a wealth of experience of business growth and development and would relish the opportunity to share and compare this knowledge with other like-minded entrepreneurs within the industry."     

The AGM was held at Hill Close Gardens Trust, Warwick on which features sixteen garden plots with a variety of plants and designs, including summerhouses and a Victorian-style glasshouse.

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